[E-voting] Abstention - an accuracy issue?

Mark Dennehy Mark.Dennehy at cs.tcd.ie
Fri Mar 19 19:14:06 GMT 2004

Ref:[Fergal Daly, Fri, 19/03/04 @ 13:50 +0000]
> > No, there must be an option to express a preference for none
> > of the available choices. Otherwise you're giving the voter a
> > "pick one or shut the hell up" choice, which is as democratic
> > as an election under Saddam...
> No? Why not? I want an option to not express a preference and to do so in
> secret. Think of it as "any of the above", the complement of NOTA, it's just
> as legitimate. We could have both.

You are correct - I hadn't fully considered the necessity to
abstain in secret. 

> > Please don't say we need one button for both choices. They
> > are very different in meaning.
> They are different in meaning but I'm not sure what the difference in the
> outcome is from each. Abstention is well defined but NOTA is not so clear.

To quote from the Irish NOTA site here:

"If the 'none of the above' option beat all candidates on the
ballot paper, there should be a political requirement for a
new election in that constituency. It may be possible to
tally all votes cast for a candidate regardless of
preference, and for these figures to be compared with the
total number of 'none of the above' votes cast. If there is
little difference between the number of votes cast for 'none
of the above' and the total vote cast for a candidate, the
legitimacy of the mandate of that candidate should come into
question. Under the Russian Federation electoral law (Article
72.4 (b)) the election of the President of the Russian
Federation is declared to have not taken place if the number
of votes cast for the registered candidate who polled the
largest number of votes in relation to the other registered
candidate is less than the number of votes cast against all
candidates. Repeat voting is held 21 days later. A similar
law exists under the electoral law of Azerbaijan (Article
72.2.2). Other suggestions of methods to factor 'none of the
above' votes into the Irish system to give effect and trigger
a second election include (i) if a majority (50% plus one) of
votes cast in a constituency are for 'none of the above' or
(ii) "if more than 35 per cent of the electorate vote 'none
of the above', then the political parties would have six to
nine months to select and present new candidates (for those
who did not reach a certain quota) for a follow-up election"
(Boosting the Poll Turnout, The Irish Times, 5th August

Mark Dennehy,
Computer Vision and Robotics Research Group,
Computer Science Dept., Trinity College Dublin		
email:	Mark.Dennehy at cs.tcd.ie
www:	http://www.cs.tcd.ie/Mark.Dennehy

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